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It’s another week, and you’re hurrying to get your email newsletter out the door, because you’ve heard it’s a good idea to do email marketing. But, you’re not really sure whether your email marketing is good or bad. But, obviously, not everyone is opening your emails, so what is a good open rate and how do you improve it?
A good open rate is 20%+ in my book. This is just my opinion based on our data in our email ad network. Imagine two scenarios.
1) You’re seeing < 10% open rate
If you’re seeing such a low open rate, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. At this level, I surmise that a number of your emails are actually going to spam rather than inboxes. If this is the case, you will want to fix this asap, as this is just a downward spiral to losing your whole email marketing program. Once your emails stop going to spam, you should see a slight boost in open rates, which leads me to scenario #2.
2) You’re seeing 10-20% open rate
When you’re in this category, the three most impactful activities you can do are
A) Clean up your list
No one wants to do this, but it really helps to clean your list every once in a while. Your email service provider should be able to tell you who on your list has not opened in the last few months. If the same 15% of people on your list keep opening your emails, it means that 85% of your subscribers are not opening at all! It’s time to whittle down your list and to stop sending to people who are not opening your messages. Perhaps, save this list of people and send them a message only when you have a very important message instead of daily or weekly so that they will listen when you send them fewer emails. I call this Karma Sending.
B) Test subject lines
Once you clean up your email list, it’s time reinvigorate your email marketing. Using the same subject line diction over and over again gets boring very quickly. If you have enough people opening your emails, try split testing creative new messages that may be random or whacky. A few ways to make your subject lines stand out:
- Reduce the number of characters in your subject line
- Try special characters
- Ask a question
- Be vague
- Use different diction from your typical subject lines
Note: none of these ideas are guaranteed to improve your open rates — these are just some ways that changing a subject line has helped other email marketers improve their email marketing. They’re worth a few tries.
C) Send your email newsletter at a different time
Karma Sending and testing subject lines are probably the most effective actions you can take to improve your open rates. But, you might get a slight boost by sending your email newsletter at a different time.